As I have written about a couple of times, I am doing my most intense virtual race yet. Part of it is the distance, part of it is the short span of time it has to be done in. Here is an update of where I am at so far!
Link: Badwater 267 VR Elite Results (these are updated constantly throughout each day)
For a quick hit at what this is, the Badwater 267 VR Elite is a virtual race that combines all three of the Badwater races together into one virtual event. That means 267 miles and they must be run in 16 days.
Unlike most virtual events, this one has a lot of oversight by the organizers. Every run has to have several photos taken throughout the run as well as a photo of the watch at the end showing the results of the run. In addition, there must be a short writeup about the run itself, weather conditions, etc for each run. All of this needs to be uploaded to Strava as well at the race page at Run Signup.
The top three men and female will be listed at the Badwater website as the winners of this event. But, for every competitor that finishes the event, a special edition Badwater belt buckle will be sent to them. For those who are new to ultra marathon events, a belt buckle is a very common finisher “medal” for those that finish the distance.
Day 4 Update
There are 200 runners in this virtual event. At the time of this writing, I am in 36th place. The results are currently measured by overall pace. So, if someone has only run 13.1 miles so far and did it a 5:55 pace, they could be in first place now. But, if they do not run anymore, they won’t be even a finisher at the end.
On Saturday, I started the day with a 20 mile run at a 9:29 pace. I felt decent overall but knew that running a 20 miler each day would not be something that would be beneficial for my strategy!
That evening, the family and I did a 2 mile walk at a 16 minute per mile pace. I had planned to do this with them each night but the evenings have been colder and windy so we have suspended that. Not only, but this pulled my pace down significantly and this is a race! So, we will see!
Day 1 totals – 22 miles in 3 hours and 40 minutes
For Sunday, I didn’t have that much time so I did an 8 miler early in the morning and then a 3 miler in the afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised that both runs were able to be done at decent paces considering the distance I had covered the previous day.
Day 2 totals – 11.10 miles in 1 hour and 36 minutes
On Monday, I started doing my strategy that I had previously planned. This was to do a 10 miler in the morning and then a 7 miler in the evening. The morning run was done in a faster time than I had originally planned – an 8:58 pace overall. But, it was really windy that morning so it was a bit tough! Still, my average heart rate was 141 bpm, pretty good for me.
An interesting thing is that my heart rate for some of these runs has started out (for the first .5 mile or so) at a 120 bpm rate. Not bad for a sub-9 minute per mile pace!
The evening run was a bit over 7 miles and I slowed it down. Also, my last 1.5 mile was all uphill with about 500 feet of ascent. So, I pulled a 9:06 pace for the evening run.
Day 3 totals – 17.13 miles in 2 hours and 34 minutes
This was today and I had to run to the city for a meeting, so, I literally ran! This let me get 12 miles in for the morning and then did 10.59 miles on the return (shortcut). Both runs were in the lower 9 minute range – 9:14 average for the first run and then 9:22 average for the second run.
I have done this but not in years – it is difficult to do double digit runs with just a couple of hours separating them! Especially after sitting for an hour! But, I was very pleased with how it turned out.
Day 4 totals – 22.60 miles in 3 hours and 29 minutes
What I Have Learned So Far
First, there are some fast runners so far! Several running an average pace of less than 7 minutes per mile! These are runners that have some very impressive marathon and beyond times anyway so this is to be expected.
I had done about 5 weeks of averaging around 70 miles per week leading up to this, including a lot of hill work. The hill work definitely has helped so far since it built up my endurance and handling any hills I do face.
It is important to realize that each time for every event is elapsed time, not moving time. This means that if you do stop your watch for a pit stop, your watch (and Strava) will still show you your elapsed time which is what is being recorded for the race. This means that you need to be aware that this is very much like a race!
This has pushed me a bit to not take any walking breaks at all as I am working to keep each mile under 9:30 – the lower the better. But, it gets into my head a bit so I don’t really like it. 🙂 If I stop for a quick bathroom break, I always try to push over the next mile to make up for the stopped time. But, I am adjusting!
Calorie Count! I am burning a total of around 4,500 – 5,000 calories a day. I do not consume this much (or anywhere near it) on a regular basis so trying to take in more calories has actually been a chore. The funny thing is I can definitely feel the drain on my body in the last run of the day. So, I am working on getting more calories in each day.
I have done 6 marathons in 5 days but trying to do an average of 17 miles a day for 16 days – while doing a job, having a family life, and more – is even more draining. This is day 4 and I am 27% through so I still have a ways to go!
Pacing is something I need to adjust. I know I am not going to get to the top 3 – for sure! I had hoped to break top 10 and I possibly could still do that but I need to slow down a bit. My legs have been surprisingly ok, I have not had any blisters, my lungs are great, and the starting pace continues to feel good. But, my feet are tired! Also, I don’t know if I can hold on to the 9:22 pace for an average. We will see.
Part of me wants to just walk 5 miles to break my thinking on pacing and just slow down but I cannot do that – not just yet!
Overall, I am just surprised and pleased that my body has held up so far on this pace and for this distance. I am on target to hit the 100 mile mark on Thursday – which will be just 6 days since starting this event. At present, I am running a bit ahead of the average and I plan to keep doing this to give me a little buffer.
From the time I signed up, I didn’t really think I couldn’t finish this event. But, the competitor in me is trying to do it as fast as I can and that could be the thing that challenges me the most! In the meantime, I am finding out quite a bit about my body and running, as well as what food works best for the quick and enduring energy. Plus, I am listening to a lot of language lessons and audio books!